Ocere Workshop – Questions & Answers
18th April 2018 – Maidstone
2nd May 2018 – Walsall
16th May 2018 – Taunton
6th June 2018 - Leeds
ON PAGE SEO
How should I decide which keywords to choose?
When considering keywords, ask yourself if people searching these terms will find exactly what they are looking for on your site.
Long tail keywords are important as these will not only have lower search volumes and/or be less competitive for those with a smaller budget, but can often be better at converting too because of how specific they are.
These long tail phrases are more key than ever as the rise of voice search means people use more natural language and ask questions in their searches. The keywords you choose can and should help structure the content on your site.
What is schema markup and is it of value?
Schema (also known as structured data, microdata, and RDFa) is a way of including extra metadata in a page that indicates the meaning of the content so that it can be processed by computers more easily.
For example, the shop uses the product schema to specify which parts of the page content refer to the product name, price, availability, and so on. There are dozens of other schemas, but none that are obviously applicable to our sites.
Whilst Google has hinted that they may use structured data as a slight ranking factor in the future, a Backlinko study that looked at over 1m results found that there is no correlation between the use of schema and improved rankings.
Should I be using Google Keyword Planner?
This is not as useful as it used to be. Whilst it’s free, it is somewhat limited. You can instead use KWFinder – but this is a paid tool.
What does Google’s mobile first update mean, and do we have to do anything differently?
The update basically means that Google will prioritise the mobile version of your website for the content and meta data that determines SEO. This is because 60% of searches are on mobile devices.
You therefore need to make sure that the mobile version of your site doesn’t have less content than or different content to the desktop version. Google is able to identify how a website displays in multiple scenarios and so it doesn’t matter whether you use responsive design or dedicated mobile/tablet versions.
Image alt text – what should we be putting here?
The text equivalent of an image, also known as alt text, does present an opportunity for extra optimisation.
Alt text is primarily used by screen readers to describe the image for people who cannot see it and can also be used by search engines to determine the nature of the image. The alt text should therefore convey accurate information about the image and should be written for a human audience first and foremost.
It is possible to incorporate valuable keywords when doing this though – for example, rather than ‘pen’, if you’re trying to rank for promotional merchandise, this image alt text could be changed to ‘promotional merchandise: blue board pen’.
What is the rule on headings – is there a limit?
Headings should include keywords wherever possible – there should be one H1 tag and a logical hierarchy of headlines to define what is an H2 or H3 headline.
If it is not possible to include exact keywords as the H1 tag, you should try and use phrases that are as closely related as possible.
Is the text in a show/hide component indexed by search engines?
This is subject to much debate, and whilst there is no conclusive answer either way, the general consensus is that all the text on a page - whether in a show/hide component or not - is able to be read by search engines so will influence SEO.
If in doubt though, anchor links to other text further down the page would be a good alternative to show/hide text.
Do WordPress have good built-in SEO tools?
They offer basic free SEO tools but these are no better than what is available within the it’seeze website editor. WordPress do however offer paid plugins that can be used.
There are a lot of websites out there with lots of content on a single page only - do these have any SEO advantages over a site with multiple pages?
This type of website was previously designed more for mobile and tablet use. But this is very limited and works more for web based applications than a website.
Another disadvantage of having a one-page website is that if you choose to do a PPC campaign, the topics covered on the landing page (the home page) are too broad so the relevancy score for the PPC ads will be negatively impacted - increasing PPC spend. This will also have a negative impact on organic SEO.
It is not a recommended format for a website.
Is there any benefit to putting the business address and phone number within the meta description of a page?
Including the business address in meta descriptions would be a waste of characters - these would be better used descriptively to entice the user to click. The exception to this is the contact page’s meta description, as this information is likely to answer the searcher’s question directly in the search results.
The phone number is valuable to include in multiple meta descriptions however, as having a clear call to action is beneficial in encouraging the end user to take action.
Does the meta description have any SEO value?
Not directly, but it has an indirect impact in prompting clicks which has SEO value. The keywords searched for will be appear in bold in the SERPs.
How much text should go into a page title?
The text that goes into the page title does not have to appear on the page. You should just include keywords naturally within 65 characters to cover a range of search queries.
An example of a good page title would be ‘Plumber in Taunton – Gas Boiler Repairs and Central Heating Services’ – this includes the primary keyword, the location, and two key products/services.
We obviously can't use the same copy from another website but how different does it need to be?
It needs to be very different. You shouldn't just take copy from another site and paraphrase it. You should just use other sites for ideas - but write your own content from scratch.
However, duplicate content on the same site is ok - for example a local plumber can have similar copy but tailored to different locations they serve. However, Google will see repurposed copy on several pages on the same site as adding little value. Google won’t penalise you for it, but is likely to reward those pages that have more unique and varied content throughout the site.
Do I need to be doing anything differently to rank on Bing and Yahoo?
No, the ranking factors are the same as Google - as 90%+ of all searches are carried out on Google, it is worth investing all your efforts into increasing your ranking on Google and then this will naturally increase on other search engines.
How can I see an SERP that is not influenced by personalisation?
Incognito is probably the most effective method to do this freely, however Incognito mode is now influenced by town/city location. This used to be more useful as it was only influenced by national location but is now more influenced by local searches.
There is currently no tool that gives a definitive answer as to where a website ranks by removing personalisation – this is mostly because all search results are now personalised on some level.
What is a good page load time?
2 seconds and faster is very good. Google puts a lot of weight on page loading speed.
What size images should we be uploading to our regional sites and also advising our customers to use?
There is no one size fits all approach as it depends on what the purpose of the image is – if it is a banner image then it should be a higher resolution but generally you should aim to upload images of no more than 300kb in size, as the editor will then further compress these.
If you need to reduce the size of an image you can use Optimizilla to compress images before uploading them.
How can I find out which images on my site may be slowing it down?
Use Screaming Frog – this is a free tool that Head Office use when carrying out your regional reviews. This identifies any issues with your site, including broken links and images that are over 100kb.
Will a 5 page website have any value as it will have such little content?
Yes, a 5 page website with high quality, keyword rich content has the potential to outrank a website with 50 pages of low quality content – it’s about quality rather than quantity.
However, as more pages allow for more quality content, unlimited pages are the best option for anyone looking to really succeed online.
What's considered a good bounce rate?
Under 70% is a good bounce rate but anything under 40% is a really good bounce rate.
Do you get penalised by Google for checking your own website?
No. By continually checking your website through Google, this will only change what Google shows you, as Google is more likely to show you the pages you regularly visit. Which is why when searching for your website/competitors we always recommend searching via Google Incognito.
How can 301 redirects be applied?
If your customer has an existing website with different page URLs to their new it’seeze site, you can send an email to the development team with a spreadsheet containing all the current URLs and what these need to be changed to. This will prevent any broken links from appearing.
What is the recipe of a good page?
With the way Google is changing and with more people using voice search and more ‘question’ type searches, on-site content is now more important than ever.
Ocere have devised a ‘recipe’ for high level informative content, this is not recommended for every page of content on your website, but definitely the top primary and information pages – this also works particularly well as a blog post format:
- Content should be 2000+ words
- Broken up throughout the page with subheadings
- Research target keywords + keyword theme/topics
- Research frequently asked questions
- 2-3 references to official bodies/government or statistical insights
- Table - with facts/figures
- 6-8 key questions
- 4-5x high quality images
- 5 internal links
- 4-5 anchor links to other content on the page
- (maybe add a video if top quality)
- When writing copy, go for a question and answer approach - Google recognises this format of content and it is particularly advisable with the increase in voice search, as this often takes the form of questions. Use tools such as answerthepublic.com - where you can find relevant questions being searched and then you can provide the answers to these on your website.
- Always mention keywords within meta descriptions - Google will bold these in SERPs.
OFF PAGE SEO
What directories should I be listed on?
|Local Data Search||www.localdatasearch.com|
|Biz Wiki UK||www.bizwiki.co.uk|
|UK Local Search||www.uk-local-search.co.uk|
What are local ranking factors?
These are some local ranking factors that will influence where a website appears in local search:
- Page titles
How can I see what incoming links my site has?
This is accessible on Google Search Console which is free, or you can use a paid service like Majestic.
Should I be interacting on Google+?
There’s no definitive evidence that socially interacting on Google+ has any SEO benefit. However, it can help to get content on your website indexed more quickly.
Is it worth linking client sites to regional sites?
Having your client’s site link to your regional website (i.e. as a link in the footer) and likewise, linking to your client’s site from your regional website (i.e. in the form of a blog) is worth doing, especially now as Stephen has advised that it's less obvious to Google that all our sites are on the same server since we moved to Cloudflare.
The best option is to add a link to your regional website on the home page in a natural and appropriate way within the content. It is not advantageous to simply include a link in the footer every time as Google will recognise the pattern and see it as something with little value. The more ‘organic’ your links appear on a client’s site, the better.
If they have a Max or Commerce website for example, perhaps offer to write their first blog post for them about the launch of their website, including a link to your regional site within the copy.
How do I generate backlinks for my regional website and for my clients?
- Directory sites – these often work well on a purely local level (see a list of recommended sites above).
- Blog sites – Ocere can assist with an outreach campaign for getting links via this method as it can be very time consuming to build the relationships necessary.
- Review sites – the number of reviews left has no influence on the value of the link but reviews are recommended for people finding your listing directly on these sites.
- Social sites – linking to the site via posts. These have dubious SEO impact, but can be valuable in other ways.
- Mentions on key local sites - such as charities, churches, or schools when you sponsor an event.
Does bookmarking a page have any SEO value for the website?
Are there still link farms and are they worth using?
Links farms often promote getting 2000-3000 links for a few hundred pounds. These are normally very low-quality links with sites that have a poor trust rating.
This approach can work initially at increasing a website’s ranking but you will soon get penalised within a few weeks once Google identifies this, meaning your website ranking will be worse in the long run.
What are the reasons some sites just can’t outrank a competitor when all the recommended SEO actions have been carried out?
The first two items to consider are the age of the site and the number of quality backlinks. It may also have something to do with the volume of content on a site.
Google may also have identified that people are spending a long time on another site – suggesting it has a high level of engagement so deserves a higher ranking.
The loading time of a site is also a ranking factor – so if the site is slower to load than a competitor’s this will have a negative influence on its ranking.
Is it worth linking a website to a YouTube channel?
Yes, but only if the YouTube channel has quite a few videos that have lots of views and shares. Google also takes into account how long a video is viewed for on average as a ranking factor.
Can we copy and paste content from our website to use as a post on Google My Business?
Yes, this is fine to do and it’s recommended you post frequently on your GMB account as this will impact the chances of your GMB listing appearing in searches.
- Avoid having too many links from one source - this is suspicious to Google and can result in a penalty.
What are conversions?
Any action on the site that has the potential to drive revenue – a direct sale, form fill, or phone enquiry.
How do I set up goals to track conversions?
Will the data held within my Google Analytics be impacted by GDPR?
Only personal data will be removed by a predefined time frame – the default setting is two years, but you can change this within the setting of your Analytics account. This includes any personally identifiable information, such as cookie data.
Aggregate data (such as number of visitors and exit rates) will not be affected.
What are the key reports/sources of info to relay to customers?
Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium – this is useful to see what traffic is coming in and from where.
Conversions - if set up.
Behaviour > Landing Pages – to see engagement of key pages people are landing on.
It’s recommended that you do a 3-month comparison with the same period in a previous year to get a representative view of performance.
How do I remove my own IP address from the results?
The easiest way to do this is by going to the 'Cookies' page on your regional website and toggling the Google Analytics cookie to 'Off'. This will prevent your site visits from showing in your Analytics data.
How can we access a client’s Google Analytics account?
When you or your client send the support team the Google account to be set up with Analytics, you can request that you also have access.
Here is a link on the Support Site advising clients of what they need to do to ask Head Office to set up Google Analytics for them: https://itseeze.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/17000059387-access-google-analytics
For clients who already have an account set up, ask the client to add you as an admin user to their Analytics account. https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1009702?hl=en
How is the position of the ad decided?
Quality score x bid = rank
This rank is then compared to the rank of everyone else who is bidding at the time, and this will determine the final positions.
As the quality score goes up – the cost per click goes down.
Can you choose the time of day that an ad is displayed?
Yes, you can schedule ads, but running throughout the day can help acquire better data for optimisation. We therefore recommend bid management based on times of day, rather than complete deactivation.
What is the average conversion rate from a PPC campaign?
The industry standard tells us 2% of visitors will convert into an enquiry or sale, but some sites may need conversion optimising in order to achieve this or higher. Anything above 5% is very good.
What are negative keywords?
These are search terms that you want to exclude – for example, if you have a high-end product you might choose to add ‘cheap’ as a negative keyword so that your ad does not appear for people who your product is unlikely to appeal to. This prevents paying for clicks when someone is not likely to convert.
Are clients wasting their time clicking on competitor’s ads?
Yes – Google is able to identify when this is being done and will credit your competitor accordingly.
Where do you apply keywords - at a campaign level or ad level?
You apply them at ad level. You can put the same keywords in different ads within a campaign. Google will then determine which ad is most relevant to show for a particular search.
Does running a PPC campaign help with organic SEO?
There's no proof of this and Google put a statement out recently confirming that this makes no difference and that paid advertising is not a ranking factor in organic search.
Some competitors’ adverts are showing when I search my business on Google - why is this?
These competitors have used your company as one of their keywords. This is permitted so long as they don't include your brand name in their ad. They will however pay a premium for doing this as their ad relevancy score will be low because this keyword (your brand/company name) isn’t used in the ad, on the landing page, or in the content of the website that the ad links to.
Is AdWords Express worth using?
No - it runs in the background and makes it very easy to spend money without being able to control all the variables. This is only really useful for charities who can run a campaign for free by proving they are a registered charity.
- A lot of testing has gone into the copy in Google adverts - especially with bigger companies that have the budget to trial lots of different adverts to then ensure they get the best return. You can use the text your larger competitors use in their Google ads in your meta description and page titles and edit accordingly for your business.
What does Ocere's management fee cover?
The more you spend with us the more time we'll invest in managing the campaign to optimise it.
The management fee (for AdWords/Facebook ads) covers the initial set up and creation of the AdWords account, then the ongoing daily/weekly/monthly management of the campaign, which includes a number of elements, such as A/B testing the ads, budget changes, adding/pausing keywords/negative keywords (and much more).
The bigger the click spend the more time is needed to make sure the campaign is running at optimum level, hence the difference in prices.
Is there a minimum contract?
No, as this can put people off, but the recommended time is at least 3 months to start seeing results.
Can franchisees mark up the prices quoted by Ocere?
No, the prices are fixed and the commission structure is as follows for franchisees per month:
Bronze package: £20pm per client
Silver package: £30pm per client
Gold package: £40pm per client
Will Ocere do all the on-page SEO work directly on the client’s site using the it’seeze editor?
Yes, if the client is happy for Ocere to do this. Ocere will however not get involved in any HTML or development issues.
Can franchisees promote Ocere’s advice from the workshop via social media?
Yes, that’s fine.